JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A lot of eyes in Bartram Park are looking for a black bear Thursday that was spotted most recently next to a Chili’s restaurant near the St. Johns County line.
The area where the bear sightings were reported may look wooded, but it’s also heavily developed just across the street.
Cassandra Barber saw the bear she’s calling Samson.
“We were working yesterday and people started crowding around the window,” Barber said. “We were all really shocked, because, in the middle of the lunch, he wasn’t going to dumpster. (The bear) just looked confused and lost.
Eventually, the bear went back to a more familiar setting and went back to the woods that separate the Chili’s lot and the Palmetto Leaves Regional Park.
Katy Triay spoke to News4Jax while eating her lunch like she does every day at the park. She said she
“I didn’t know it was in this area, so I’m not worried,” Triay said “It used to be a lot more rural than it is now so it’s kind of developed around our wildlife.”
Ken Parker with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they are aware of the sighting and believe the bear is heading back south to its natural habitat. He said that the development around the St. Johns County line isn’t the only reason bears show up here.
“During the spring time the bears are definitely out,” Parker said. “It’s mating season, and they’re looking for food, so they’re going to be a little more active.”
FFWCC officials said that if you see a bear, don’t feed it. For more information, call the Wildlife alert number at 1-888-404-3922.